According to World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), India leads the world in terms of the number of people with diabetes. At present India has 50.8million people with diabetes and the projected figure for the year 2030 is 80 million. We should make determined efforts to mobilize the resources require to combat the epidemic in the years to come.The compaign slogan for 2009 of World Diabetic Day is “Understand Diabetes And Take Control”.
The risk of diabetes related complication can be prevented with good management of blood glucose levels, blood pressure and blood lipids. HbA1c test is simple and effective tool in diabetes monitoring. When a part of the blood glucose combines with hemoglobin, it forms a complex called glycosulated hemogloin, also called as HbA1c or A1c value which is usually expressed as a percentage.The amount of HbA1c is directly related to the average concentration of glucose in the blood. The HbA1c value is fairly stable for a period of two to three months and therefore is an indication of the long term diabetic control over the past two to three months.
IMPORTANCE OF HbA1c :
A recent study revealed that many patients do not know the results of their HbA1c test: This is unfortunate because knowing the value of HbA1c is just one more way that one can participate in their care and make sure that the sugar levels are under good control. People with diabetes who have a test result that is greater than 8% need to work with their health care provider to change their treatment plan. When people with diabetes have a test result that is less than 7%, their treatment plan is probably working and it is likely that their blood sugar is under good control.
A normal person usually has an HbA1c value between 4-6%. However, This value is expected to be higher than 6% for a diabetic. Higher the HbA1c value, poorer is the diabetic control and also greater is the risk of heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes. Therefore, any decrease in HbA1c level is good for your long term health, but you should aim for a value below 7% for a longer and happier life.
There are many benefits of monitoring your diabetes control based on the HbA1c value.
Long term picture: HbA1c value indicates your diabetes control status over the last 60-90 days, as against just a few hours in case of glucose test. Moreover, the HbA1c value doesn’t fluctuate. Therefore your doctor finds it easier to determine the long therapy based on your HbA1c test report.
Fasting not required: the HbA1c test can be done anytime. No fasting is Required before you give your blood samples.
Not affected by just administered drugs: unlike a glucose result, the HbA1c result is not affected by medication taken before the test. So no need to disturb your daily schedule of medicines.
To sum up, the HbA1c value is not affected by:
Time of the day at which you are giving your blood sample
Meal intake you give the sample
Just administered diabetes drugs
But it doesn’t mean that your blood glucose tests are not important. Your blood glucose tests are important too. while HbA1c test gives the picture of your long term diabetes control, the blood glucose result gives you the picture of the current glucose level in your blood so as to help you maintain the normal blood glucose level throughout the days. This helps you in not getting hypoglycemia (lower level of glucose in your blood than normal) and to see how the food choices, exercise and medicine you follow to control your diabetes are affecting your blood glucose from day to day.
So keep a track of your HbA1c value at least 4 times a year as recommended by American Diabetic Association (ADA) to ensure that you take the right medicines to control your diabetes and avoid complications.
You can lead a longer and a happier life if you get yourself tested for HbA1c regularly!!!
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